If you’ve turned a deaf ear to podcasts, you can be missing a big opportunity to reach your target audience.
By 2023 about 106 million U.S. consumers older than 12 will listen to podcasts each month, Business Insider Intelligence predicts. Other researchers estimate 73 million are already monthly podcast listeners.
“Listenership is growing, and we expect it to continue to do so,” said Dan McCarthy, a senior editor for Business Insider Intelligence in Manhattan.
A podcast, for the uninitiated, is an episodic digital talk program that can be downloaded, and it's consumed primarily via audio.
Podcasting has been around for a while, but more smartphone use over the years has certainly helped fuel growth, McCarthy said. More than a decade ago you’d have to download podcasts to your computer or iPod to listen, he said, whereas today they're available across many different devices and platforms like music streaming services or YouTube.
Still, while listenership is growing, Americans have been adopting podcasts at a slower rate than other mediums. Over the past 16 years podcast adoption has risen to just below 30 percent of the U.S. population older than 12, according to McCarthy, far behind radio, TV and internet adoption in their respective first 16 years.
“It’s been a slow and steady growth,” Tom Webster, a senior vice president at Edison Research in New Jersey, said of podcasts. The 73 million listeners estimate is from Edison Research/Triton Digital, which noted that in the last nine years monthly listening has grown from 11 percent to 26 percent of U.S. consumers older than 12.
Given the growing audience prospects, Bruce Chamoff, president of the Long Island Podcast Network, decided to relaunch the network, which he founded in 2005 and phased out in 2009 when podcasting wasn’t as popular as it is today.
The network relaunched in January with 18 podcasts ranging from business to entertainment and food topics. Chamoff does a weekly tech podcast himself called “The Web Design Business Success Series.”
Podcasting “helps establish me as an expert,” he said, noting his goal is for the network to have at least 100 podcasts by year-end.
The network has a free plan that podcasters can utilize to join and then three paid plans ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 monthly that offer more exposure, says Chamoff, CEO of Hot Web Ideas in Babylon, an internet marketing firm.
The network recently started doing cross-marketing with the Long Island Podcast Studio in North Bellmore, which opened last September, said Joe Buscarino, who co-owns the studio with his cousin Nick. They saw potential in the podcasting arena and wanted to offer a “turnkey space” podcasters could use without having to invest in their own equipment.
The studio’s equipment includes a soundboard, headphone amplifier and microphones, says Joe, who has a monthly podcast called “The Nut Without Nuance.” It costs $40 an hour to use the studio, but the rate drops if a customer books more than one hour or takes a monthly subscription.
They’ve seen increased demand and have had more than 15 individual podcast shows recorded out of the studio since opening.
He said for a podcaster to be successful consistency is key.
Tim Healy, president of sales coaching firm Healy Success Solutions in Holbrook, understands this. He hosts a weekly live business radio talk show, “The Profit Express,” on Hofstra University’s WRHU/88.7 FM on Wednesdays that he makes available via podcasts on his company website. He consistently puts up content, and listeners have grown to expect it, he says, noting downloads of his podcast grew 43 percent from 2017 to 2018.
He’s found it beneficial to bring on weekly guests and do cross-promotions with them as he did with recent guest Hilary Topper, She has her own podcast called “Hilary Topper On Air” available every Friday. If someone subscribes to her website, HilaryTopperonAir.com, they then will get an email alerting them that the podcast launched, said Topper, president of Long Beach-based HJMT Public Relations.
Her podcasts were originally on BlogTalk Radio, an online talk radio and podcast hosting platform. She recently switched over to Libsyn, another podcast hosting platform, which aggregates the content to streaming services like Spotify, iTunes and Google Play.
Other podcast solutions include Anchor, Blubrry, PodBean and SoundCloud. For more on starting a podcast see: podcastinsights.com.
For small businesses, the benefit of podcasting isn’t so much raising brand awareness, but rather “a way to engage with prospects/customers you already have and build a deeper relationship with them,” says Webster of Edison Research.
Just don’t make it a sales pitch.
“People aren’t going to listen if there’s no value in what you’re saying,” says Joe Buscarino.
While the number fluctuates, there’s estimated to be more than 600,000 podcasts.
Source: Podcast Insights